The Desire in Desirability

So, what have we got with this Desirability thing?  Let’s start with a Strategic View, and then get down to the Tactical “what it means to me at work” stuff.

Going back to the classic AIDAS (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action, Satisfaction) Psychological model of buying behavior, I think what we are seeing is a gradual acceptance by traditional Brand Marketers that:

1.  The actual definition of “Brand” is changing
2.  A media type is best optimized for a specific AIDAS job

1.  Brand is traditionally a premium strategy – I convince you to pay more for essentially the same goods because they have this “Brand”.  But there is increasingly an experiential component required of Brands, a “proof” of sorts that affirms the Brand Promise / Premium.  These proofs often reach deep into areas outside what most people think of as “MarCom”. 

So now you’re talking about package and product design (Usability), you’re talking about Service, you’re talking about Customer Experience.  All of this together is now Brand. 

Brand is both Promise and Payoff.

2.  This means Brand folks now effectively have a two-step to execute: they can create a Brand Image / Promise – Attention and Interest – with the Mass media, but actual Payoff / Action requires an “affirmation” of Brand Promise.  These affirmations now take place largely through web research and interactivity. 

In other words, with the consumer knowing they have easy access to tons of fact and opinion on a product through the web, they’re probably not going to make it to the Desire phase without doing a few minutes of research first.

These Affirmations create Desirability, which leads to Action.

Put simply, Mass media can no longer drive people through the entire AIDAS cycle.  It loses them at Interest, where the web largely takes over the role of creating Desire.

This is the hard linkage between Engagement and Desirability.  Engagement is a measure of Desirability, of the Brand to “pull” people into the Desire phase of AIDAS from the Interest phase and through to taking Action.  You can “push” people into Awareness and even Interest, but you have to “pull” people into Desire and Action.  A two-step, as it’s known in direct. 

The qualifier and the closer, the front-end and the back-end.

None of this means Mass media is dead, or Web media is better, or Social Media Rules, or any of that. What it means is you can waste a lot of Marketing budget saying the wrong things to the wrong people at the wrong time.  More about that when we talk about Tactics.  It also means MarCom folks should think about becoming true Marketing folks if they want to succeed in the long run.

If you’d like to read detailed background on the Brand / Media idea above, see Online, the Web Site is the Ad.   More background on the proper (Strategic) role of Marketing in the Integrated Interactive business model is found at CMOs: Strategic Seat = Chief Customer Officer.

What do you think?  Is this model of Media and Behavior making sense to you?  Anything broken?

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